A Family Under Attack ~ by Julia C. Hurley

Imagine being violently awakened by a missile strike in your backyard at 3 am. This is exactly what happened to the Zaanin family of Beit Hanoun last night as their water wheel and well were hit by a missile fired from an Israeli F16 with absolutely no warning and for no apparent reason. The wheel, well, and half of one of the family’s homes were completely destroyed. The IDF has denied the attack; however, the pictures speak for themselves and the family heard the F16s and drones overhead for an hour prior to the strike. The Zaanin family live in a cluster of homes surrounding the water wheel and well and all of the houses suffered major damage from the attack. Broken windows, smashed roofs, broken doors, and concrete dust were everywhere, even falling on us from the trees with the breeze as we spoke.
Destruction of the water wheel and parts of the Zaanin family homes

Portion of the water pump
The members of the family in the front house, which took the brunt of the impact, happened to sleep on their front patio last night due to the heat, thus saving their lives and leaving only four of them with mild to moderate injuries. Motaz (12), Murad (11), Ahmad (5), and their aunt, Muna (50), were all relieved to have escaped with their lives, although Motaz and Murad were clearly still in shock. When we arrived, their father, Taher Mohammed, was sleeping on the floor of the damaged home, exhausted from the shock of what had happened to his family last night. Family had found him screaming and crying as he tried to help his children out of the house.
Inside the front home. Luckily no one was sleeping in this room during the attack
The others injured included the Za’anin’s neighbor, Samah Kefarna (30) who lives across the street and was hit by debris, and two other members of the Za’anin family, Maroun and Samar, newlyweds of just two months. They were asleep in their room right next to the water wheel and woke when the ceiling fell on top of them. Maroun suffered minor injuries to his shoulder and head and Samar had cuts on her face and head, needing three stitches. After viewing the damage,   I could hardly believe they were alive, let alone only moderately injured. Their small home attached to the main family house was destroyed.
Maroun next to the bed where he and his wife were sleeping
Maroun’s wife, Samar, with a large gash on her nose

This is a refugee family with no ties to Hamas or the resistance groups and children attending the UNRWA schools and Summer Games. One of the boys even had on a Fatah t-shirt. Eleven year old Murad is a great student, according to his family, and wants to be a professional soccer player, despite a heart condition which has required two surgeries already. Murad’s twelve year old brother, Motaz was clearly still in shock after needing six stitches in his head from the debris that fell on him, but once he got a bit more comfortable, he told me he wants to be a journalist for Al Jazeera. When asked why, he said it was because they are always being targeted in this area and no one ever tells the story, so he wants to tell the world. I promised him I would tell his story and thanked him for his courage.
Motaz bandaged up

Despite what has happened, neither Murad nor Motaz had a hateful word to say when I asked them what they would like to tell people about what happened. The first time we asked the question of Motaz, he turned his head and looked down, still visibly upset by the incident; however, after he told us he wanted to be a journalist and we asked again he said “I don’t want Israel to enter my house again. I want to live in freedom and safety. I don’t want to hear drones anymore.” Murad had similar comments and said simply, “I want my freedom and I still have hope [I will get it.]”
Aunt Muna, in bed with a broken foot
This is just an average family in Gaza, doing nothing wrong, who have hopes and dreams and children with bright futures ahead of them. They could not understand why this had happened to them or what they had done to deserve it. “What? What am I supposed to say? Only God can help us. What is this little boy’s crime [referring to Murad]? What did he do to the Israelis?” Murad and Motaz’s Aunt Muna asked. Her frustration was evident, but despite her broken foot and what had happened to her, she greeted us with a smile and joked with us as well.
This is how Gaza moves forward. Despite the attacks and the siege, people are able to smile and greet their visitors warmly, even when we are coming to view the destruction Israel has just caused them. The Zaanin family is just one of many who have suffered from pointless attacks on their homes ruining their livelihood and destroying their shelter, but as usual they carry on. The resilience of the people here astounds me daily and even more so when you have seen their lives ripped apart in a moment by a missile, and they can still greet you with a smile and a cup of tea.

Full set of photos can be found here

Source juliachurley.blogspot.com

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